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2016 Draft Prospect Highlights: Tight Ends

We're bringing you college highlights of the top tight end prospects entering the 2016 NFL Draft based on Mike Mayock's top five position-by-position post-combine rankings.

Height: 6-5, Weight: 250

Three years ago, the Razorbacks were delighted to have a legacy recruit in their backyard (Little Rock), who just happened to be one of the top tight end prospects in the country. His father, Mark, played offensive tackle for Arkansas from 1988 to 1991, serving as a team captain his senior year. Hunter didn't make it to his senior year, however, choosing to enter the 2016 NFL Draft after a spectacular junior season where he won the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end and garnered consensus first team All-American honors. The first-team All-SEC pick by league coaches and media had 51 catches for 739 yards and three scores on the year. This production wasn't out of the blue, given his recruiting status and production as a sophomore (37-513, two touchdowns receiving) and a true freshman in 2013 (28-409, four scores despite fighting issues in both knees).

Height: 6-4, Weight: 254

Stanford has become "Tight End U" over the past few years, with former Cardinal contributors Zach Ertz, Levine Tiololo, Coby Fleener and Jim Dray enjoying good NFL careers. Hooper's next in line, leaving for the pros after his redshirt sophomore season. His father actually played at San Diego State, but his uncle, Greg, suited up for Stanford as a fullback from 1979-1982. Those genes were obvious during his two years on the field, first as a redshirt freshman in 2014 where he earned Freshman All-American and second-team All-Pac-12 honors (40-499, two scores). He helped Stanford win a conference championship in his second season, garnering several honors (Mackey Award finalist, third-team AP All-American, first-team All-Pac-12) by catching 34 passes for 438 yards and six touchdowns.

Height: 6-5, Weight: 247

Adams took over as the primary target after Rory Anderson went down with an injury in 2014 and excelled, using his height and strider's speed to finish with 21 catches for 279 yards and one score on the year. Even in a year in which the Gamecocks struggled to move the ball through the air (they ranked in the bottom quarter of the FBS), he set career highs with 28 catches for 421 yards and three touchdowns. The former star high school basketball player has the physical skills to excel as a receiver and blocker in the NFL.

Height: 6-6, Weight: 257

Vannett grew up in Westerville, Ohio, where OSU football is King. Though he was not utilized to his full potential in the Buckeyes’ passing attack, there’s no reason that he shouldn't be as valued as former teammate Jeff Heuerman, who was a 2015 third-round pick of the Denver Broncos. He has NFL size and hands, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten selection with 19 catches for 162 yards in 2015. Vannett had similar production (19-220) but more red zone targets (scoring five times) as a junior after spare usage as a redshirt freshman (two starts, 9-123) and sophomore (8-80, one TD).

Height: 6-3, Weight: 250

The last four players drafted from Harvard enjoyed at least some NFL success, from long-time starting center Matt Birk to special teams ace Isaiah Kacyvenski to veteran starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Ravens versatile fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Braunecker (and his teammate, offensive tackle Cole Toner) could be next on the draft list after an All-American (AP, Walter Camp, AFCA) senior season with the Crimson. The first team All-Ivy League selection caught 48 passes for 850 yards and eight touchdowns (including four 100-yard games in the last six weeks), easily outdistancing his production as a sophomore (9-91, one touchdown) and junior (11-227, one touchdown).

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